Health insurance costs rising?

Teachers and staff at Seymour Community School Corp. can expect higher health insurance costs in 2016, but the increase could have been three times greater, said a district official.

Steve Nauman, business manager for the corporation, said in order to keep overall costs down as much as possible, pay all medical claims and have a reserve available for large or unexpected claims, employees will have to pay more.

The school corporation is the fifth-largest employer overall in the county with around 740 total employees.

For those on a single medical and dental plan, the increase will be around $30 per month or $15 per pay period. For a family plan, the increase is around $74 per month or $37 per pay period.

Employees choosing to have vision coverage will pay an additional $2 per month or $1 per pay period for a single plan or $4 per month or $2 per pay period for a family plan.

The insurance is being administered through Anthem, a change from the current carrier, Guardian, and prices are set for the next two years, Nauman said.

Although the district offers three different group medical plans, including two with high-deductible and health savings account options, the increase is across the board, Nauman added.

“That way we are not penalizing one group over another,” he said.

But Nauman said the increase could have easily been much more.

“To give you an idea of where we are and the driving force behind this, our self insurance fund started out with $346,000 in January.

By the end of last month, it was $28,000 in the hole,” he said.

The debt isn’t the result of a single claim, but the average utilization of the insurance plans by employees, Nauman added.

“It’s not necessarily the big claims that cause your insurance to go up. Claims are very sporadic. They can range from $30,000 to $110,000 a week. Sometimes almost $200,000,” he said. “It’s just how claims are processed and when they are processed. It’s like trying to hit a moving target.”

An insurance committee made up of school board members, teachers, staff and representatives from JA Benefits were tasked with finding the best options.

“If we were to do what we really think needs to be done based on trends and where we need to be reserve wise, we would be recommending an increase three times what we are,” he said. “But we are gambling that what we are doing is going to continue to help.”

Employees and their families have access to a school health clinic which does not require them to pay for office visits or most prescriptions, and by having a choice of medical plans, Nauman said people have more flexibility in managing and taking ownership of their health care costs.

“You can make choices that will pay off in the long run,” he said.

Since the plans are good for two years, Nauman said costs won’t increase for 2017.

“It’s important for people to understand, we’ve done a lot to control our costs, most definitely with our health clinic,” he said. “But if nothing were to change, we would be back again making a recommendation to increase next year.”

Nauman commended employees for being a part of the solution.

“I think they are really trying to help us control our costs,” he said.

By the numbers

Seymour Community Schools Insurance Costs for 2016

Medical;Plan 1-PPO – all plans through Anthem

Single plan;Per pay;Family Plan;Per Pay

Monthly Premium; $767;$1,873

Corporation contribution;$503;$1,196

Employee Share;$264;$132;$677;$338.50

Plan 2-HSA/High Deductible

Monthly Premium;$590;$1,441

Corporation contribution;$450;$1,050

Employee share;$140;$70;$391;$195.50

Plan 3-HSA/High Deductible

Monthly Premium;$527;$1,287

Corporation contribution;$450;$1,050

Employee share;$77;$38.50;$237;$118.50

Dental

Monthly Premium;$52;$114

Corporation contribution;$20;$41

Employee share;$32;$16;$73;$36.50

Vision

Monthly premium;$12;$27

Corporation contribution;$10;$23

Employee share; $2;$1;$4;$2

$28 monthly increase for single medical ($14 per pay period)

$68 monthly increase for family medical ($34 per pay period)

$2.13 monthly increase for single dental ($1.06 per pay)

$5.53 monthly increase for family dental ($2.76 per pay)

Group life insurance – required for all employees. Provided through One America. Cost $1 annually.

Author photo
January Rutherford is a reporter for The (Seymour) Tribune. She can be reached at jrutherford@tribtown.com or 812-523-7069.